[Review] A.O.T. 2: Final Battle – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Omega Force
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games CO., LTD.
  • Release Date: 05/07/2019
  • Price: £54.99/$59.99
  • Review code provided by: Koei Tecmo

Although the specifics of the story will be avoided, this review will contain minor spoilers for the anime due to certain elements being included in the core gameplay.

The battle to save humanity

Attack on Titan is a wildly popular anime, having wrapped up its third season recently to some incredibly high praise. The show touts some incredible acrobatics, with the main characters flying through the air like Spiderman with wire contraptions, and slicing the napes of giant naked humanoid creatures known as Titans.

Trying to make a game based on the property sounds both incredible and frightening. Although the thought of zipping through the cities using the characters Omni-Directional Mobility (ODM) gear sounds exhilarating, there is also a high chance that if done poorly, it could result in something rather flat and lifeless. The first game in this series nailed almost every aspect of this, and I’m happy to say that the sequel improves on that excellent groundwork.

Seasons 1 – 3 come to life

A.O.T. 2’s main story campaign follows the series first two seasons. You are an unknown cadet, known as “our friend”, who lost their parents in the fall of Shiganshina. Since that day, our friend has vowed to kill the Armoured Titan that caused the death of their parents. Conveniently you become a member of the 104th Cadets, which the main characters from the anime are also a part of.

This new version of the game though includes the latest DLC pack, Final Battle, which adds season 3 content into the mix. Instead of bolting the new content onto the end of the original story, season 3 has you taking control of key characters from the series, going through the story as it unfolded in the anime. As some people will be picking up the DLC pack on its own and probably haven’t played the game in some time, the first level has a nice little refresher tutorial.

Integrating a player-created character into the story works for the bulk of the story mode, as all the season 1 content seems like that characters existence in the universe is plausible. Season 2 it kind of falls apart a bit though, as you take place on missions and are a part of conversations from the anime that your character clearly wasn’t a part of originally. Although minor, it is a little off-putting. That said, with how season 2 plays out, there really wasn’t much they could have done to alleviate this issue.

Season 3 feels like a new game in a lot of ways. The presentation changes, and using characters you know and love (or hate) from the series is a blast. Unfortunately there are cutscene instances that are static images, or presented like a visual novel, which comes off as really low budget in comparison to the first two seasons of content. That said, the story told and mission therein are excellent.

Slice open their napes

The main gameplay focuses on battling Titans in open areas. Missions range from taking down specific targets, to escorting high-priority soldiers. During a mission, certain side-quests will open up. Taking on those missions will grant you a reward of some kind, be it a high-level soldier to help you fight, or an outpost to aid in the destruction of the Titans.

After a mission, you will be granted a ranking based on the number of Titans you destroyed, side-missions completed and how long the mission itself took to finish. You will also gain experience points, which will level up your character, as well as materials for crafting new weapons and gear.

Traversing the world is both easy and an absolute blast. To use your ODM gear, you just hold down the Y button, and move in the direction you wish to go. As the ODM gear uses two wires to fling you around, you see the wires anchor into buildings, trees and other things in the environment. There will be some areas where the wires for you ODM gear won’t be able to latch on to anything, such as open fields, meaning you will have to use either your own two legs or your horse to get around.

To take out a Titan, you must slice its nape, which is the area on their back at the base of their neck. When you engage a Titan, you can target certain body parts to attach your ODM wires to. Want to go for a quick kill? Then latch onto their neck, position yourself behind the Titan, and strike. If you want, you can also aim at their arms and legs, rendering them helpless and easier to take down. Certain abnormal Titans will require you to attack their limbs to open up the ability to deal damage to their napes.

When you make an attack, you just latch onto a body part with the X button, and let go of the analogue stick. Doing that will launch you directly at the body part you are attached to. Hitting the X button again at the right time will cause a successful attack to be carried out. Your attacks can fail too, if you are too close, don’t build up enough speed, take a bad angle at the target, or just straight up hit the X button at the wrong time.

Talk of the town

When you aren’t fighting bloodthirsty Titans, you will find yourself preparing for battle in what is referred to as daily life sequences. Here you can wander around different areas, talking to the people and deepening your bond with your comrades. This is important, as levelling up your bond with a character will unlock new abilities and buffs for you. Each of these have a point value tied to them, and you can only equip a certain number of these abilities. As you level up, the maximum number for equipping skills also rises.

You can also purchase new equipment, materials and horses. To get new gear, you also need certain materials to have them crafted for you, and there are a lot of equipment choices to choose from. Upgrading equipment you already have is also an option, and is sometimes the better way to go. You can also feed other weapons into the one you use, raising its stats.

Scouting missions are also available here, which is a form of side quest. These missions are a good way to level up your character, and also acquire materials to help you craft new gear. There is a satisfying loop here, and all the systems in place tie together real nicely.

Are they firearms?!

Season 3 of the anime starts off with a bang, as ODM gear tied to guns rather than blades is introduced, and are used as anti-personnel weapons. These weapons have been included in the Final Battle DLC, and add a whole new way of playing the game. Although not supposed to be effective against the Titans, the game takes some liberties here and lets you blast away some Titan napes.

There isn’t just some Titan-killing action included here though, you will have to slaughter other humans as well. This is a completely different style of combat, as you cannot lock on to a human with your ODM gear. Instead, you lock on your target to an opponent, then launch an attack when the cursor turns blue. This allows you to home in on the enemy and land your fatal blow.

Yeah, what else is new?

Beyond the two main story modes, there is also Territory Recovery Mode. Here, you create your own regiment by selecting a commander, your company banner and regiment name. You then set out on expeditions beyond the wall to hopefully take back all the land that has been lost to the Titans. This is a nice little tie-in to season 3, where they aim to plug up the holes left in the walls from the very first episode of the series, and reclaim those lost lands.

Final Battle has also included 5 new playable characters, as well as some new weapons. Firearms I spoke about already, but you will also gain access to the destructive Thunder Spear. These are definitely fun new additions, and really up your destructive capabilities. You can even switch between guns and blades mid mission, you just need to make your way to an outpost.

The naked body is a sight to behold

Capturing not only the look, but the feel of an anime is a tricky venture with a video game. Thankfully, Attack on Titan 2 manages to nail the aesthetics. From the character models, to the environments they battle in, everything looks superb. Those giant naked Titans are as menacing as you would expect, and their limbs cut down in a satisfying manner.

There are some things that let the visuals down though. Buildings are destructible, but they kind of just disappear, as opposed to crumble. Titans can get caught on the environment in some weird and wonderful ways, especially the crawling ones, whose heads can become completely engulfed inside of a tree or building. There is some severe pop-in issues as well, and the frame-rate can plummet into slide-show territory.

Musically the game is excellent, but that is to be expected with the top-notch soundtrack the anime uses. The sound design is satisfying, but the main standout with the audio is definitely the voice acting. It uses the Japanese voice-overs, and they are sublime.

Pros

  • Nails the look and feel of the anime
  • Top-notch story
  • Excellent gameplay with a fun loop
  • Deep mechanics
  • Great sound design

Cons

  • Some cutscenes in the new content feel low budget
  • Mid-mission objective cutscenes can break the flow of combat
  • Levelling can become a grind

Verdict

Killing Titans is a satisfying experience, and will please not only fans of Attack on Titan, but also those less familiar with the series.

4.5 / 5

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